Are Teenagers Taking the Pandemic Seriously?

Written by Claire Davison, Teagan Russell, and Sarah Burns

Being safe during quarantine is important, however some are not taking it seriously. A lot of blame for risky behaviors during the pandemic is directed at teenagers, but is it warranted? Today we take a look at Loudoun County teenagers and how they’re tackling the pandemic. 

Currently, Virginia has 259,000 reported Covid-19 cases and the numbers are expected to rise due to the holiday season as people gather with their family and friends. Loudoun County Public Schools has been virtually learning since the start of the school year and has 10,832 cases; the numbers are still rising. In the United States 11.8% of reported Covid-19 cases have been children ages 0-19. 

In a distance learning environment, Woodgrove High School students have missed out on school events like homecoming, football games, and pep-rallies. However, some students are getting creative about preserving their high school experience. Teenagers are throwing their own homecoming parties, “focos,” celebrating holidays like Halloween,  Thanksgiving, or “Friendsgiving” with their friends. While it is important to stay connected during this time, these gatherings can bring concern as the Covid-19 numbers increase in Loudoun.

Woodgrove Senior Kristina Ayers says, “I’m going to be honest, this virus scares the living daylights out of me.” Some are concerned that teenagers are not wearing masks or social distancing during their gatherings. “It’s irresponsible to be going out without masks or without testing first. I don’t understand why wearing a mask is so difficult.  Is it really worse than a seatbelt if it’s going to potentially protect others or your loved ones?” Ayers says. 

Education is not the only aspect that teenagers have to contend with in the pandemic. Many of those attending Woodgrove also work jobs and/or volunteer in their off-time. However, Covid-19 restrictions have significantly affected this. Joey Royhab, Woodgrove Junior, had this to say about how the pandemic has affected his employment, “Yes, as a first responder in training, it is difficult to properly receive training at the Academies without the looming idea of being shut down.” 

When asked his opinion about whether teenagers don’t understand the seriousness of the pandemic, Royhab says, “Completely! As a training firefighter, I get to see how many Covid calls go out, and it’s sad to see a preventable disease cause people to call 911.”

Sophomore Finn Dean, says, “The majority of them  don’t seem to care too much,” when asked if she thought teenagers were taking the pandemic seriously. Dean describes how her family is handling this situation. “We locked down at the beginning, my mother refusing to let anyone else other than herself go outside because my father is immunocompromised.” 

“I’ve been doing all our grocery runs, and we do the whole nine yards; mask, frequent hand sanitizer, wiping down groceries, etc. We all accept how serious this virus is, so it hasn’t been a problem to adapt as necessary,” says Kristina Ayers. 

There is certainly a stereotype of teenagers being uncaring and wild in the face of reality. However, it appears that the majority of Woodgrove students seem to understand the limits set by the pandemic. While there are still those who will disregard the warnings, many teenagers are working and schooling within safety regulations. 

A Chick-fil-A employee working in the rain while maintaining COVID regulations.